JULY 1, 2007
For the first time all week, I saw a film at the LA Film Fest I can 100% recommend (other than Chasing Ghosts, a fantastic documentary about the rise and fall of a group of arcade heroes). Flight of the Living Dead is exactly what Snakes on a Plane tried and mostly failed to be: A fun, intentional B movie that is designed for a big audience to enjoy together.
Unlike Snakes, which didn’t introduce A Plane until the 20 minute mark or so and there were no Snakes On it until the halfway point, Flight takes off (oh good god I really just wrote that) right away, with zombie action starting just shy of the 20 minute point. Co-Writer/All-Director Scott Thomas knows perfectly well that no one goes into a movie about zombies on a plane looking for an involved back-story. Whereas Snakes set up this long and boring story about the mob, witnesses, etc (not to mention introducing the characters at the airport instead of in-flight), Flight gets all of this out of the way quite early, in flight, and gives us all the information we need before we even have a chance to get impatient.
The casting in the film is near perfect. There are a few no-names, but a good bulk of passengers are played by great character actors like Erick Avari, Raymond Barry, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Dale Midkiff. And Richard Tyson is in it!! Plus the super hot Siena Goines, playing the wife of a Tiger Woods-inspired golf pro who somehow managed to bring a golf club on-board (and yet, I can’t bring my contact lens solution). The only flaw (not crippling though) is that the lead character is played by some no-name, and is totally written as a Nathan Fillion type. Well, goddammit, get Fillion! The guy’s in White Noise 2, he’s clearly not a discerning script chooser. And besides, he’d make the movie infinitely more entertaining. But then again I say “Put Fillion in it!” for pretty much every movie. Even Saving Private Ryan.
Also, like many plane movies, the stewardesses do not resemble actual stewardesses, and instead are incredibly hot. I dunno about you, but in all the times I’ve flown in the past couple years (about 20) I have yet to see a single one I’d even want to see nude, let alone nail in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, the one in this movie is HUGE. I always wondered HOW folks can join the mile high club; all the ones I have been in have been so cramped I often have to sit down on the can just to wash my hands. But here, they have enough room to fool AND walk around.
The spirit of audience participation was high, folks were laughing along with the intended comedy as well as the unintended moments, like when a guy sets off an explosion inside the plane’s cargo area. Not the best plan. There were also occasional CG effects that made the ones in Escape From LA look good, but luckily most of the film was done with practical effects. The director said there might be a limited release (New Line, pretty much the only studio that doesn’t dip in the DTV market, has picked the film up) – I urge you to see it with a crowd if you can.
I’d also like to take time to point out the dangers of sneaking food into a theater. There was a dude in the crowd who had apparently wrapped a cookie or something in an entire boxful of plastic wrap. For 5 straight minutes (during a fairly quiet sequence in the film) we could hear this dude attempt to ‘quietly’ open his food. Some charming Horror Movie A Day writer finally yelled “JUST OPEN IT!”, at which point everyone laughed and the dude gave up. Also, last week I went to a show and the guy doing the “welcome to the theater” speech actually requested opening all of your candy now rather than during the show (all the more hilarious when you take into consideration that the theater technically didn’t allow food inside). Look, I’m all for sneaking in snacks (read: beer) but ya’ll gotta be more discreet!! No one wants to hear crinkling, ever. EVER.
What say you?